It’s five ’til and I’m getting ready for the noon Good Friday Service, meeting with the reader, going over the parts. I have my sermon in hand.
A couple of young women come to my office, and I think, Oh good. College students. I’m glad they showed up. I hope it’s not an emergency, though. I don’t have much time…
“Um, we’re the Secretary of State’s secret service. We’re here just to check everything out. Dr. Rice is going to attend the service.”
“Okay. Thanks,” I say as I look to see if they’re packing heat in the church.
Our sanctuary’s a stone’s throw from the Watergate Apartments, where Condoleezza lives. Her dad was a Presbyterian pastor. She usually goes to the prestigious National Presbyterian Church, but I guess she was in a crunch, and decided to worship at our place. We’re the scrappy little church on the corner, the one that’s filled with good-humored contrarians.
I stare at my sermon and wonder if I should deviate. I wasn’t planning to say anything in my Good Friday homily about the infuriating war in Iraq, or the abominable use of torture in our country. It was a nice little piece about the family of God.
I wonder if I can fit it in…like…”You know, it’s interesting that we’ve brought up the subject of Jesus being tortured, because THAT REALLY APPLIES TO OUR LIVES. RIGHT NOW.”
The deviation wouldn’t be out of place in our pulpit. We preach about politics all the time. I mean we’re in DC, if we didn’t talk about it, it would be like living in Nebraska and never mentioning the corn.
Plus, look around. Can we sit back and let everything we believe be trampled upon, and not say anything, because we think that politics don’t belong in the pulpit? Really, would God want us to keep those artificial niceties up? Shouldn’t we be preaching about things that mean something to people? Shouldn’t we be preaching about things that mean something to us?
I’m not talking about supporting one particular candidate or a party over another. I’m not talking about keeping the religious left talking points next to our Bibles. I’m talking about standing up for injustice and crying out for peace.
I’ve protested. I’ve joined throngs of people, walking, singing, shouting, calling out, in the hopes that someone in this administration would hear me. Then I would find a tiny little paragraph about the march on page 17 of the Style section, the next morning.
Now I have the chance to speak to the big C, directly.
I still don’t know what I would have done. She didn’t show. But, I think I would have just gone with the script. I mean, I didn’t have a chance to think about it or pray about it. Spouting out a bunch of hearfelt, yet unprepared ramblings would have probably made things worse.
Unless the Holy Spirit moved….
So, what would you have done?